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December 2005

I saw Yahoo Finance posted a new column from Robert Kiyosaki today. With an open mind, I decided to read it, thinking perhaps he has something positive to say. I wasn’t planning on commenting about the article until I read the third and fourth paragraphs. He’s trying so hard to sell his point of view that he’s willing to leave out important details that conflict with his reasoning, hoping readers will overlook the gap in logic.

Here we go! Paragraph 3:
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Best Of 2005

This article was written by in Administration. 3 comments.

As the year is coming to a close, and I will be less available over the next few days, the opportunity is perfect for taking a look at Consumerism Commentary and compiling a list of “best” (or most popular) entries from the year. This will be the 570th entry in 2005, but only a few of those I would consider worthy of being included on a “best of” list.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here is the “Best of 2005,” sort of categorized:
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Grocery shopping

This is an area in which I hope to make vast improvements in 2006: my eating, cooking and food shopping habits. At the end of the year, I’ll evaluate how much money I’ve spent on food this year. I already have a good idea of the amount based on my latest income statement (dining plus groceries) and it doesn’t make me happy.

Luckilly, this article from Money Magazine appeared right on time. The article instructs the reader to shave $150 a week off the grocery bill. Here are some obervations from the article and my thoughts:
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I’m not the biggest fan of Suze Orman. I’ve seen her show and I don’t like the way she talks to her callers, even if they deserve a little berating. I don’t agree with all of her advice, such her suggestions for young workers in the advertising industry in New York. If I remember correctly, her advice was to run up credit card debt on groceries while pursuing the next step on the corporate ladder. Anyhow, there are some thoughts of hers I can support. Suze’s offering Ten Tips for a Prosperous 2006 — and Beyond on Yahoo Finance. Here are her tips:

Play The Match Game.

More than 20 percent of 401(k) plan participants don’t invest enough to get the maximum company matching contribution. That means about one out of every five plan participants is unwisely turning down a bonus.

When I first started at my current company, I debated whether I should contribute 4% of my income in order to get the full employer match on the 401(k). I thought that since I probably wouldn’t be there after three years, the vesting period, it wouldn’t be worth tying up the money I needed as cash. As it turned out, it’s almost four years later and I’m stil here (though I did take an unofficlal break to teach one semester). I’m glad I took advantage of the match as soon as it was available.

Limit Your Company’s Stock in Your 401(k).

I don’t care if you work for the most fabulous company in the most dynamic industry. No one should have more than five to 10 percent of their investments riding on one stock.

This raises a red flag. I have about 14% of my total investments (non-cash) in company stock in my 401(k). Of just the 401(k), that’s 22%. Half of my company match is directed to company stock. Since my position in the company supposedly has access to Material, Non-Public Information, I’m not allowed to sell that stock unless it is in within a designated period. I made an effort to sell during the last period, but I had some technical difficulties and it didn’t happen.

The company’s stock has had a great run-up since being lised several years ago, and thus my investments are a little heavily weighted towards it. This is a dangerous position to be in and I’ll try to rememdy it during the next period.

If you’re a fan of Suze Orman, check out The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke.

Working Environments With High Health Risk

by Luke Landes

I had a frustrating morning with one of my bosses today. It was the kind of encounter where you have to get up and walk away for a few minutes to refocus. I stool in an empty conference room for some time, talking myself down from my crazy thoughts such as quitting before I had […]

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New Jersey Nest Eggs Incubating

by Luke Landes

A.G. Edwards has compiled results from a survey and has developed a “Nest Egg Index.” The statistics measured include participation in retirement plans, debt levels, home ownership — all major contributors to net worth. I found some items within the results personally interesting: My home state of New Jersey tops the index [cnn] of states, […]

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Carnival is Up!

by Luke Landes

The Carnival of Personal Finance has been posted at Wealth Junkie! And there was much rejoicing and reading great personal finance articles, like Donor XY by Nina at Sitting Pretty and Get Fit, Save Money by InsureBlog. The latter article ties in directly with one of my resolutions for 2006. Next week’s Carnival, the first […]

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A Look At The Number, Part 5: Your Passion

by Luke Landes

This is Part 5 in a series about The Number by Lee Eisenberg. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, and Part 4 is here. The third and final section of The Number is about discovering your Number, the net worth or yearly income required to live independently of working. […]

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The Most Indebted Generation

by Luke Landes

BusinessWeek and MSN have published an interesting article which describes those of us in our 20s and 30s (ie. me) as the most indebted generation. College seems to be the tipping point. Young adults begin to see the world from an individual point of view rather than as a son or daughter. By the time […]

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Cashiers Offering Credit Cards at Register

by Luke Landes

In almost every store I visited while shopping over the last week, the cashiers offered me an additional discount if I’d apply for (and be granted) a store credit card. Usually a 10 percent discount for the entire day is part of that offer. According to MSN Money, some companies have been offering more, such as […]

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